The Boston Bruins are going through changes and they will be apparent in the 2020-2021 season, with key movements on the blueline leading to a changing of the proverbial rearguard.
Defenceman Torey Krug is now with the St. Louis Blues. He signed as an unrestricted free agent on October 9.
Krug’s impact will be felt on the power play in particular. He served as the quarterback on the man advantage and put up 28 points with the extra skater last season. Krug had a total of 49 points last season, including nine goals and 40 assists.
The Bruins will try to plug someone into the slot, but he’s not an easy dude to replace. Head coach Bruce Cassidy has options, with Matt Grzelcyk the leading candidate at this point. Charlie McAvoy has to be in the conversation, too.
It goes without saying that the Bruins are among the best defensive squads in the league. Last season they allowed just 2.39 goals against per game, best in the NHL, and they finished with a 44-14-12 record for a .714 points percentage.
The shifting tide might make an impact on those numbers, especially with the question marks surrounding Zdeno Chara. He’s long been the leader in Boston, but his status for next season is up in the air.
The Bruins signed restricted free agent Jake DeBrusk to a two-year contract Monday and now have about $4 million left in cap space, which puts most major moves off the table.
But that is enough cash to ink Chara if that’s the direction Boston wants to take.
General manager Don Sweeney told reporters Monday that everything is “status quo” on that front, although the team and the Chara camp have been in communication. Much of the decision-making depends on exactly what happens with the league going forward, so consider it a holding pattern until that January 1 date firms up.
Like many teams, the Bruins aren’t exactly settled into what hockey will look like for 2020-2021. But we do know that the situation on defence will look a little different with Krug (and potentially Chara) out of the picture. This is a franchise on their way to reconfiguration and that could be a good thing, especially as this roster’s core group isn’t getting any younger.